I’m driving to the Krishnamurti Foundation at Brockwood Park, near Alresford, Hampshire,
My first ‘meeting’ with Krishnamurti came many years ago - 1973, I think - while browsing in a bookshop. I picked up the Penguin Krishnamurti Reader, for no reason I can recall, and began reading. What I read must have had an instant, electrifying effect because when I left the bookshop I had two of Krishnamurti’s books under my arm.
Something spoke to me, in a very direct way. Krishnamurti seemed unflinchingly honest, almost confrontational, in his refusal to offer comforting platitudes or facile promises about ‘enlightenment’. Instead of giving answers, he asked the vital questions… and invited readers to engage with this spirit of enquiry. It semed revolutionary; I felt challenged, exhilarated. He dismissed organised religions - all of them - with an airy wave of the hand, along with their rituals and practices, threats and injunctions. He skewered the guru/pupil relationship too, stressing repeatedly that he wanted no followers. Even the things I didn’t understand - and there were plenty - seemed to have the ring of truth.
“Truth is a pathless land”, he insisted: such an elegant affirmation. Ten thousand words would not be enough to provide a precis of Krishnamurti’s teachings, yet, ironically, these five words do just that… illuminating that landscape like sunlight breaking through clouds.
I learned more about Krishnamurti and read more of his books; over two summers I attended the talks in the marquee at Brockwood Park. While the talks were as difficult - and uncompromising - as the books, I was glad to see the human face behind the words. I marvelled that a man of his age could talk, without notes, with such power and intensity. I recall his stillness, on those summer afternoons, as much as the words he said. I’m glad I made the effort to attend those gatherings; they left a lasting impression.
I hesitate to say that my understanding has increased over the years. Nevertheless, something must have permeated, through a kind of cultural osmosis (whenever I think I’ve written something particularly insightful, I Google it… only to find that Krishnamurti had written it fifty years ago!). Maybe this is the way his teachings should be absorbed… not through the intellect but by living with them, through them. His words are with me every day; I return again and again to the books and talks, on audio and video, and never fail to find something new.
Bosham Harbour... where King Canute failed to stop the tide...